(Photo: Mauricio Casillas/WCSN)
The Arizona State women’s soccer team opened their run in the Sun Devil Classic with a 4-3 thriller victory over the Fighting Illini in double overtime.
Sun Devil forward Cali Farquharson continued her dominance of non-conference opponents as her goal in the 17th minute of overtime, her second of the game and sixth of the season, highlighted a roller-coaster night for the Sun Devils.
After seemingly taking control with a 2-0 lead, the Sun Devils gave up two quick goals late in the second half. Illini forward Vannessa DiBernardo scored on a penalty kick and forward Jannelle Flaws netted a wide open shot from inside the box.
However, the Sun Devils offense responded in dramatic fashion as forward Devin Marshall calmly volleyed a shot from outside the box that went past the outstretched arms of Illini keeper Claire Wheatley.
Not to be outdone, the Illini countered, as Flaws pushed the game into overtime with her second goal of the game in the 80th minute.
Both overtime periods closely resembled the first half of the match — the Sun Devils in complete control with Farquharson, defender McKenzi Grossman and Marshall all nearly netting game-winners.
The Sun Devils finally broke through, however, with three minutes left in the second overtime. Marshall assisted Farquharson’s run down the right side of the field, and Farquharson placed a shot into the lower right corner of the goal and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
“I didn’t expect to score that last one,” Farquharson said. “We were hitting the post and I thought Holland Crook’s and Devin Marshall’s shots were in. Illinois was taking it to us and we were all exhausted and cramping. I was fortunate to put that last one away.”
The match started an hour and a half late after the Kansas-Arizona game was delayed by heavy rain. However, the Sun Devils did not waste any time in putting relentless pressure on the Illini defense, as forward Sarah Tosti narrowly missed two potential goals in the first fifteen minutes of the game. The theme of narrow misses would continue throughout the half as Marshall, Farquharson, and Crook all had good looks at goals.
All would change in the 28th minute, when Crook sent a marvelous cross to Marshall, who capitalized with a powerful header past the keeper, giving the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
After being held largely in check for much of the first half, Farquharson took advantage of an Illini defensive miscue and powerfully struck a left-footed shot past the outstretched arms of Wheatley, making the score 2-0.
After a grueling and emotionally draining day for the Sun Devils, head coach Kevin Boyd provided the inspirational spark that would ultimately guide the team to victory.
“We got into the overtime and I said to the team, ‘It’s 3-3, and there’s nothing we can do where we’re at right now other than prepare for overtime.’ Overtimes are about character and heart, going out and wanting it and willing it,” Boyd said.
The Sun Devils (3-1) will continue with tournament play on Sunday, as they face off against the Kansas Jayhawks (3-1-1). They will look to build on a hard-earned victory and make a case for a top-25 ranking.